Title: Appreciated, but Not Required
Pairing: Edward and Emmett
Genre: Angst, Romance.
Word count: 5, 496
Summary: A horrible loss changes Edward Cullen's life. Back at school, questions are answered and eyebrows are raised.
Warnings: Includes death of a character.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight related. No copyright infringement is intended.
*Beta-Reader* Karen L Buckle - Thank you so much for your help! xx
Appreciated, but Not Required
Edward Cullen POV
Walking through the entrance of Forks High, rows of lockers define the sides of the hallway. Students roam around. Avoiding me. Parting the way for me like Moses with the Red Sea. I guess having a friend would be nice, if we had something in common. But I'm used to the fact that I have no friends; no cheerful greeting from school pals as I arrive and head towards my locker. However today is totally different.
Instead of completely ignoring me, everyone is staring. With wariness. With pity. My eyes are on the floor, avoiding theirs. I use my pointer finger to push my glasses up as I reach my locker. Opening it up, I retrieve the books I need for my first three classes. Murmurs and whispers can be heard easily from the students around, but I try to ignore them. Being Friday morning, I can still sense their slight anticipation for the weekend ahead, but not me.
I didn't come in yesterday because it would have been too hard. Mum and I spent the day together. Between crying and hugging, we made funeral plans for this weekend. Dad and I were supposed to be camping this weekend, but instead we'll be burying him.
On Wednesday night Dad and I had gone to Port Angeles to catch a movie.
We were walking back to the car after the movie when a few men came out of nowhere. One of them had a gun and demanded money. A guy was holding me back as the one with the gun and another went for my Dad. I didn't care that the sirens seemed to scare them into action, making them leave. At that moment, I didn't care if they managed to catch them all.
The gun shot had echoed through the dark, cold night. After that sound I didn't hear anything else besides the rapid beating of my heart and my father's gasping breaths.
Running back to my Dad, I crouched on the ground over his chest as the fuckheads ran away. Using my hands, I'd tried my hardest to stop the blood from flowing. With angry tears streaming down my cheeks and bloodies hands; I screamed for my father to not die. To just stay with us. Stay with me.
He died in the ambulance, on the way to the hospital.
My father. My best friend. Gone.
It being such a small town, word got around pretty damn quickly.
Sunday was his funeral date, and I wasn't ready for it.
Taking a deep breath, I shut my locker door and turn around. Emmett McCarty's boisterous laughter can be heard from a mile away as it reverberates against the walls. It cuts off suddenly, as his eyes meet mine. For a beat we both just stare. I find myself begging him in my mind to not mess with me today. To just leave me alone for one day. No name-calling. No shoves or kicks. No threats. My eyes shift away first, focusing back on the floor as I make a move to the Men's toilets.
Pushing the door open, I go to the sink. Filling my hands with water and washing my face. No tears. No weakness. Not today.
Less than 40 hours ago I lost the one person I could count on for anything. I lost the person I felt the closest to. My Dad.
With one more rinse of my cheeks, I yanked out some paper towels to dry my face off before turning for the door.
I froze. Standing in front of me, in front of the door, was Emmett McCarty. His six foot, six inch frame is muscular and intimidating. For just over a year, he has been a bully to me. I've never known why, I never cared enough for myself, to question him. Why me? What did I ever do to him? Feeling a punch or something else along those lines coming my way, I spoke.
"Don't. Not today….please." What I intended to sound like a demand, came out as a weak plea.
Folding his arms across his chest, his biceps seem to enlarge. He frowns, "Edw " –
"No," I shake my head slowly as I take tentative steps toward the door. "Not today…" I whisper.
One of his arms shifts. For a moment I believed he wouldn't do anything, not on this day. But I flinch back swiftly to avoid his fist. Of course, I can always rely on my clumsiness.
As I move away from Emmett, my hip bangs into the corner of the sink. I yelp in pain as my fingers grasp my sore, tender skin. "Shit," he murmurs, coming closer.
"Please!" I finally manage to shout, on the verge of tears. "Please Emmett, just leave me alone! Just for today!"
With the element of surprise written all over his face, I am able to quickly move around his body and out through the door.
I take a deep breath as I know he won't bother chasing me. Even with everything else he does, he never chases after me.
Only this time appears to be very different. I learn this when it's too late. His hand is grasping my slim forearm and he turns me around to face him. Letting go of my arm, his huge chest is right in front of my eyes. The fact that I need to raise my head in order to see his face; annoys me.
"Please," I whimper with a plea. "Not…today."
His eyes make me think he's really considering what I've said. As he lifts first one arm, and then the other, I sigh in defeat and close my eyes. Maybe it's best he gets it over and done with. Out of his system. And then I have the rest of the day – the rest of my life, to mourn.
Suddenly, I feel the weirdest sensation. It feels as if two big, strong arms are all around me…trapping me. No, embracing me. It feels like one of Dad's hugs, only really different. The arms holding me now are much bigger and stronger. The chest my cheek is pressing against is much harder, more defined. And the smell isn't the same.
Where Dad was citrus and earthy, this person was vanilla…coffee…and some aftershave altogether. The aftershave doesn't smell bad at all. I find I kind of like it.
It takes me a moment or two to realise that Emmett McCarty is hugging me.
With my hands on his chest I push away abruptly. "What are you doing?"
"I'm – I – I was hugging you."
"I know that. What are you doing?" I repeat, utterly confused and frazzled.
"Look," he says, "I get it. I'm just. I'm really sorry. About your Dad. And…I get it."
I don't say anything for a moment as I am in shock. "And so you're hugging me? What, no daily punch or kick?"
Shaking his head and running a hand through his hair he seems almost…ashamed. "No."
"I'm just really sorr " –
"Don't! I don't want your pity. Just leave me the fuck alone." Gaining some unexpected confidence, I manage to turn and flee the area in one piece; arriving just in time for my first class.
A couple of minutes before the bell is meant to ring, I realise with dread that McCarty is in my next class, before lunch. What sucks even more is the fact that we have to sit next to each other.
Assigned seating is fucking annoying. And with our first names?
I make it to class early on purpose, getting out all of my belongings so that I can appear busy when everyone else arrives. I actually become so fully engrossed in my drawing; when I raise my head, the whole class in seated and the lesson has begun.
Although we have individual desks, Emmett's is beside mine and when he hisses for my attention, I sigh. My eyes drift over, bored as I glance at him. His hand is held in the space between us with a piece of paper inside it. I roll my eyes as I think, 'What the heck?'
Snatching it gently from him, I place it on my desk underneath another sheet and open it up.
I don't want to be the person I've been for the last fourteen months.
I really am sorry about your dad. I don't mean to pity you, only to
say that I understand what you're going through. Losing a parent
is the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with.
I'm sorry for the way I've always treated you. If you let me, I'd
really like to explain myself. I owe you more than that, but it's a start.
If you ever want to talk, or just hang out…please come to me. I'll
be there for you like I never have before.
Folding it closed, I try to catch up to what the teacher is trying to explain; while Emmett's letter remains my focal thought.
Fifteen minutes before the bell for lunch will ring; I decide to quickly write back.
If you want my forgiveness for the last fourteen months, you have it. I don't
need any explanations. I was just the nerdy guy who lucked out as
your punching bag, right? Just let it be.
Let ME be.
Folding it twice, I chuck it back to him when the teacher isn't looking and then begin to pack up my stuff. I want to be one of the first to leave. Though as usual, I'm paying so much attention to the teacher; that I'm completely thrown when the bell goes off. Emmett places the paper on my empty desk before he walks off with the rest of the class.
There is a reason I bullied YOU all this time.
Please talk to me.
Bewildered, I shove the note in my pocket before leaving and heading towards the cafeteria. Curiosity is a bitch, ain't it?
I really do want to know why Emmett has been so mean to me all this time. But I've been so sure that it was just my nerdy appearance and grades that made me the target. Did I want to know the truth?
Shock causes my jaw to drop as I take in the scene of the cafeteria. Instead of sitting with all of the other jocks and the cheerleaders; Emmett is sitting alone, at the table that I most frequently use. With three trays in front of him; he is eating his lunch. Seemingly oblivious to the stares and murmurs of everyone, he appears content.
What is he doing?
I take a deep breath and walk up to him, asking the very question on my mind.
"What the hell are you doing?" I snap.
"I'm eating my lunch," is his reply. Only it sounds like, "I'mpheatingmaalaunch."
"I can see that. But why are you eating it over here?" I ask, pushing my glasses up my nose.
He watches my movement with a gentle smile and then blinks a few times. "Because I want to."
"Okay…well…" I am lost for words.
"Look. I bought you lunch, the least you can do is sit and eat it with me." He says with a huff.
"And why would I want to do something like that? Am I supposed to suddenly believe that your company has improved since two days ago?"
"I haven't hurt you for two weeks now." He replies.
I do the quick calculation and find that he is correct. "Huh…"
"Not that it's impressive or something to be proud of…" he mutters. "Look Edward. Please can we just sit and eat and…be? We don't have to talk I just want to be…with you. Please." His voice fades out at the end, almost whispering.
After a moment, I shrug and sit down. Relaxing into the chair, I take a deep breath and allow my mind to wander. It's a mistake for me to do that on this day.
Silence fills the space between us as my thoughts are overriding any other information. All I can think about is my Dad. And the fact that I'll never see him smile, or hear him laugh ever again. I'll never hear his voice or watch him try to dance or sing ever again. Before I know what's happening, my body is shaking uncontrollably.
I can hear someone…Emmett…saying my name in the background, but I don't respond. I can't do anything as I can't breathe. I'll never see him again. He'll never give me advice on anything and he'll never hug me. Ever again.
I smell vanilla, coffee and nice aftershave. I feel the tears running down my face. I sense my body is being lifted. But I don't care. I just want my Dad back.
Slowly, I feel myself coming back into focus. It's no longer dark anymore, and I'm not alone now.
Using the strength in my arms; I lift my body, as I'm lying down on something soft. A warm, huge, gentle hand is suddenly resting lightly on my stomach.
"Careful Edward, don't get up too quickly."
His deep, yet oddly smooth voice is right in my ear. I don't blame myself for flinching. Why is he so close to me?
"Sorry," he murmurs, sitting back down on the chair beside me.
Taking in the surroundings I can see that we're in the school sick bay. I am lying down on a cot and Emmett is right next to me.
"Where are my shoes?" I ask, noticing the lack of weight on my socked feet.
He clears his throat, "I um…I took them off. Figured you would be more comfortable without them. You ah…you fainted."
"Fuck…" I whisper. The previous scene from the cafeteria finally coming back to me.
"It's alright," he says softly.
My eyes flick towards his face. "What about this is alright?"
He sighs quietly, "That while you're coping with this situation you've been dealt with… you're mind and body are trying to deal with it. Trying to take it all in." He runs a hand over his short hair. "It's alright that sometimes there's just too much to deal with…too much to take in, that your mind and your body just want…a break."
I'm lost for words after his speech. It's the longest sentence I've ever heard him say to me.
"Which one of your parents passed away?" I ask, not really caring if I'm being blunt.
He's hurt me for years.
"My mother," he answers. "She…she passed away almost two years ago."
"So before you made me your victim," I muse.
"Please jus –"
"Emmett, I think –"
"Shut up!" He yells, causing me to jump. "Just shut up and listen okay?"
"No! I don't want to listen to you. Why would I want to talk to you?"
"Just let me explain!" He huffs and stands up, raising his arms in the air. "Just let me tell you why!"
"Fine. Go on then. Why, Emmett? Why did you make me your punch bag? Why did you feel the need to bully me? I mean obviously it was soon after your mother's death, but that is no reason to - !" I gasp in mid-sentence as his hands suddenly grasp the sides of my face.
Before I can even think, he pulls my face to his and crushes our lips together.
He stays completely still for a good four seconds before gently letting me go.
I know my eyes are wide with shock and my mouth is hanging open. "That…that is why."
Utterly confused and still surprised beyond belief, I manage, "Why what?"
"That is why I singled you out," he says, placing himself on the cot beside my knee. He lets me sit up against the pillows this time. "From the moment I met you, I was attracted to you. Over time I've learned that it is more than attraction. That I…love you." He pauses and lifts his eyes to mine as I gasp. "I hated myself for liking you so much, but back then and until recently… I hated you for it. I hated that you made me feel this way."
I'm still frozen in astonishment, so I don't react much as his fingers begin to stroke my thigh lightly. "My Mum always said that I was going to meet someone lovely, that I would love and grow old with them. But she and Dad had always said, 'she,' when talking about my future, 'Mrs Right.'" He shakes his head with a smile. I start to think the stroking of my legs is helping him talk.
"A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream. I was having a conversation with my Mum about school and my life at that point, when all of a sudden she mentioned you. Well, she asked me, 'Son, why are you hurting the one you love? For all you know, he could be your soul mate.'" His fingers grasp onto my knee from underneath, lightly. "I knew she was talking about you. But I woke up, feeling so happy that she had said, 'he' for the first time. Even though it was in a dream."
His eyes lift to meet mine. "That morning, I told my Dad the truth. That I knew I had serious feelings for a fellow male student. He asked me if I was gay, and I was honest. I said I wasn't sure, because you had been the only person to ever catch my eye. I have never been interested in anyone else. Ever."
So that was why he kept turning down the cheerleaders.
"Rosalie Hale will be so pissed when she finds out," I murmur, not knowing what else to say.
He chuckles, "I'm sure she'd get over it after a while."
"I don't know," I smirk, "she's been crazy for you since we were all freshmen. I can picture her reaction; face all red while her eyes do that twitchy thing…"
I jump suddenly, still smiling as I realise the boisterous noise is his signature laughter. His free hand gently grasps mine. "Oh my God!" he continues chuckling, "You're so right."
Finding myself feeling…happy, I quickly realise that he is touching me. My hand and my knee. Do I mind? How do I feel about his touch, exactly?
Deciding I should probably say something, I do. "Well um…thanks for helping me. I'm guessing you brought me here."
"Yeah. No worries. You had me really worried. I almost had a heart attack when your eyes rolled into the back of your head."
"Sorry," I mutter before thinking, my cheeks growing warm.
"It's okay," he smiles.
I nod as I don't know what to say. Shifting my glasses up my nose, I rest my free hand over my stomach and keep my eyes on it.
Am I really going to ask?
"Do you…want…to kiss me again?"
He gasps quietly, "Yes."
"Of course I do. Would you mind if I give it another shot?"
I shrug and hope that it's enough.
"I mean…that wasn't really a kiss," he says huskily.
His hoarse voice makes me lift my eyes to him. "It wasn't?" I ask. Even though I've never been kissed before today, I'm pretty sure that was what he did earlier.
"No," he lets go of my limbs. Placing his hands on the mattress; either side of my shoulders, he holds his upper weight. "This is a kiss." He growls quietly.
Leaning in toward me slowly, I see his face and lips as they become closer and closer. He seems predatory as he moves closer. Surprising both him and myself, I lean forward to meet him as I find he is taking too long. As our lips meet again, his feel soft and warm against mine. Only after a few seconds, his lips pull away, only to press against mine again, and again. Slowly, his lips become more attached to my bottom lip; favouring it as they nibble and kiss it.
Closing my eyes, I try to relax as I start to copy his motions on his upper lip.
I decide I like kissing a lot.
Well, I like Emmett's lips anyway.
After a moment, he tilts his head the other way and we swap the lips we concentrate on. Time no longer has meaning, and I don't know how much passes as we continue to kiss.
All of a sudden though, something soft and wet becomes involved.
I realise it's his tongue and I gasp. This allows him to slip between my lips, inside my mouth.
Surprisingly, we both moan at the sweet sensation of each other's tongue. My hands are suddenly grasping his head. Pulling his face; his lips, closer to mine. His reaction is to groan deeply inside my mouth. With more enthusiasm than before, his tongue caresses and explores my mouth. One of his hands removes my glasses and then rests on my hip. Deepening the kiss, he shifts his strong body so that he is on top of me. I feel the length of his whole body covering mine.
I have never been so turned on in my life.
Okay, so I have only ever been turned on once before when I was ten. But I never thought I could experience such hunger and need for another person. To feel so much passion and sexual attraction is shocking me.
He spreads my knees apart with his thighs and I cradle his waist with my groin. I am enjoying this so much; I forget where I am completely.
A moment later we both pull back for some air. It's only then that I realise; we're still in school and in the most compromising of positions. I shudder to imagine the nurse coming in right then.
"Emmett. Maybe we should…"
"Right." He smirks quickly, kisses my forehead and swiftly removes himself from the cot. As he sits back down on the chair, we're both able to breathe properly.
"Glasses?" I ask.
He stands to find and place them back onto my face carefully. "Sorry I got a little carried away." He says.
"We both did," I admit quietly.
"Look, Edward. I don't want you to feel pressured to do or say anything. I just wanted you to know the reason why I bullied you. I'll never say that it was an excuse or that it was okay, because it wasn't. I never should have treated you the way I did. And I never will again." He leans forward with his elbows on his knees. "I guess I just wanted you to know how I feel about you. And I know that you're fragile at the moment, so I'm not asking for anything. Just that…if you want something to talk to; I'm here."
He stands and gives me another smile. Moving over to the foot of the cot, he puts my shoes back on my feet carefully.
"Yes?" he lifts his head curiously.
"Will you really stop?"
Finishing with my shoes he offers his hands to help me up from the bed.
"I promise to never hurt you. Ever again, Edward."
With a quick kiss on his lips I say, "Okay."
I begin to stand up by myself, but feeling a little dizzy; my arms try to find something to hold onto. Suddenly a huge, warm frame is wrapping itself underneath my arms and around my body.
"Easy there, baby."
My eyes snap to his. Baby?
"What?" he asks nervously, wary of how strong my legs are; as if he doesn't trust them to hold my weight yet.
"What did you call me?" I whisper, leaning in to him.
He seems confused, "I…I said 'Easy there…ba –' " he pauses as he realises. "Um…"
"You said, 'baby,'" I say.
"Don't be." I leap the two or three inches it takes to be in his arms completely. Catching him by surprise, I crash my lips to his. With a shocked gasp, his lips part and I slip my tongue in between them.
My hands grip onto his neck, and my hips press into him.
I moan loudly when his tongue joins our kiss. Emmett's hands grip my hips as he pulls them into his groin. With what sounds like a growl, he lifts my body by my waist and sits me back down on the bed. My ass on the edge.
He moves in between my legs. Using his big, strong hands, he spreads them. Our kissing hasn't paused at all, and I wrap my legs around his as his hands hold on tight to my ass cheeks. Emmett uses his grip on my ass to move me against him, rubbing our hard-ons together as we moan.
"Edward," he murmurs into my mouth.
"Mmm…" I take a deep breath; knowing we need to stop as I start to pant.
I release the grip of my legs so that they rest either side of him. Wrapping my arms around his body, I hug him as I breathe steadily.
"I liked it," I admit quietly.
I hum into his stomach. Realising I'm smiling; some part of me starts to feel guilty. I shouldn't be happy today. I've just lost my Dad. Before I know it, I'm sniffling.
"Hey," he murmurs, embracing me more tightly and rubbing my back. "It's okay."
Soft sobs break free. "No it's not Emmett. How can I feel happy today? I shouldn't be happy. My Dad will never be happy again. He'll never smile or laugh again!"
I'm suddenly hysterical and breaking down in front of him, holding onto him. The last person I ever thought I would receive comfort and sympathy from. Emmett McCarty.
"Sshh. Baby, it's okay. Even though he's gone…it's alright to smile and laugh and be happy. Don't you think he'd want that? Wouldn't your Dad want you to be happy, baby?"
I cry quietly as I start to nod, "Yes…"
"Ssshh, it's okay. Everything is okay." He says.
Giving me a tight squeeze, he lets me go and meets my eyes. "I'll be right back, okay?"
Knowing I can't really speak, I nod and close my eyes. When they reopen, he's gone.
Lifting myself up again, I finally have balance and can stand on my own two feet. I'm feeling more normal by the time he comes back in. He strides over to me and grasps my hand. He kisses it quickly before leading me out of the sick bay, carrying both our bags.
"We've spent a fair bit of time in there," he smiles. "We only have English for our last class left."
I hum in reply, waiting for him to let go of my hand. But he doesn't.
Everyone stares at our joined hands as he pulls me toward my locker. He motions to it with a sexy smile. I can't help but return it before opening the locker and retrieving the things I need. Waiting patiently for me, he hands me my bag. I pull things out and then situate the required books inside.
From the corner of my eye I can see he's watching me with a smile. I close the door. "What?" I ask him.
He leans forward with his hands on my hips. Smiling, he moves his lips to my ear. "You look so sexy with those glasses." My eyes meet the floor as I feel my face warm up. "Mmm…and that blush is the cherry on top of the cake."
I lift my eyes back to his. Giving me a sexy, crooked smile; I wonder why I never realised how handsome he is. How hot he is.
Self-preservation most probably.
His eyes are suddenly darker. There's a certain animalistic…hunger to them, as his face leans in to mine. "And now you're biting your lip." He says. I quickly let it go, but a second later he's biting it gently.
Although I am aware of a few gasps and hollers around us, my focus remains on Emmett. His lips. His touch. I breathe into his mouth as we nibble each other's lips. A second later, I push against his chest softly before pressing my lips to his once more.
He smirks before grabbing my hand again. "Come on, baby."
Our English teacher doesn't make us sit in any particular order. So when Emmett and I reach our class, he leads me to a couple of seats in the back. He pulls my seat out for me and I raise my eyebrow at him. "A gentleman," I say.
"Just for you."
As we work together on deciphering an author's hidden messages in their book; Emmett holds my pinkie with his. It's perfect really. While he is left handed, I am right. Half way through our lesson I decide to ask him why he's so ready to be so completely open about his feelings.
"I told you. My dream. Over four years I have prayed for a sign. A sign that my mother would approve and that it was okay to like you…to like a guy. And although I know now that I didn't really need it, I got it anyway." He shifted closer to peck me on the cheek quickly. "The sign…it was definitely appreciated...yet…it wasn't required for me to know. To know, that it's absolutely okay for me to love you."
My breath hitches. I use my right hand to place it against his cheek, and give him a swift kiss on the lips. "Emmett McCarty, you are a charmer."
With a wink, he grips my pinkie in his again and we get back to work.
When the bell rings, we pack up our stuff. Emmett fidgets while we make our way from the classroom and out of the school.
Reaching my car, he finally spits out what he's been too nervous to say. "Edward…I…I would really like to take you out on a date. I know the timing is horrible and everything…but um…"
"How's tonight? Pick me up at seven?" I ask with a small smile.
Blinking, he clears his throat. "Yeah. Yes. Seven is perfect."
Pulling me into him for a quick, tight hug; he feels warm and safe. "You know where I live?" I question into his pectoral muscles.
"Yes, I do. I guess I'll see you then?" he stands back and gives me a beautiful smile.
"Yep, I guess so." Bravely pecking his lips, I unlock my car. Smirking with mischief, I feel like teasing him. With one leg in my car; I turn around to face him. "Emmett…are you nervous or anything?"
"No. Why would I be nervous baby? I know tonight will be great."
I grin at him, "You're right, it will be. I mean, my mom's not too scary."
Suddenly, as I had expected; his eyes widen and his lips part in horror.
Laughing at him, I take pity on him. Grasping his neck and smirking up at him I say, "I'm only kidding love, she'll be fine."
He sighs as I pull back again. "I like that. 'Love.' You gonna protect me from her?"
"Of course," I chuckle.
Emmett starts to walk away, "That wasn't very nice Edward Cullen."
"Sorry, love," I shout with a smile.
"You're forgiven, baby. See you soon!" Bubbly and happy, he jogs over to his car.
While I'm driving home from school, I consider how different today went. Instead of hurting me or being nasty; Emmett admitted he loves me. That he has loved me for years. That in a dream, he received a sign from his mother. Telling him that his feelings for me are okay. But most of all, what meant the most to me was how he explained it exactly to me. The fact that to him; the sign was appreciated, yet not required.
As I park in my driveway, I know I will always miss my Dad greatly. No matter what, there will always be a whole in my life…an important person missing in every family gathering, every event. My Dad will never see me graduate. Never see what I decide to do for a career. Never see me start a family or get married. Yet, although I will always have this whole. This loss. I know that wherever he is; my Dad is ecstatic that I have found someone who seems to care for me a lot. Who loves me. For me.
I do believe that Emmett would have pursued me regardless of my horrible loss. But maybe not so soon. And I thank God that he did approach me today. I needed the distraction. His company and his comfort helped me to make it through the day.
Emmett McCarty is taking me out on a date tonight. And I know he will be there for me on Sunday. That I will be able to say my final goodbye's to my father, with Emmett by my side. I smile up at the sky as I close my car door. I have the feeling that Emmett will be there for me, by my side for a really long time.